AMHERST, N.Y. — Comebacks, shutouts, and blowouts were the order of the day at the Northtown Center as six New York girls teams won the right to compete in the 2019 Chipotle-USA Hockey Girls Tier I and Tier II National Championships April 4-8.
The Tier I teams will all be flying to the opposite coast in Irvine, Calif., while the Tier II teams will return to the same Northtown Center in Amherst.
North Country domination in Tier II
Teams representing the North Country area of far upstate New York won
all the respective age groups in Tier II. In fact, all three teams are within about 15 miles of each other.
The Norfolk-Norwood Icemen took the 14U title, defeating Malone 4-2. It didn't start out looking like a win.
After a scoreless first period, Malone's Etta Coburn scored a pair of goals. However, Malone got into penalty trouble, and Norfolk-Norwood jumped all over them in the final 2:29 of the second.
Anna Nelson finally put a loose puck in after a scramble in front of the net seconds after a 4-on-3 advantage began.
Shortly afterwards, Norfolk-Norwood had another power play, which resulted in Avery Holland tying it up.
The comeback was completed at 4:30 of the third period when Madelyn Dinneen gave the Icemen their first lead. Eight minutes later, Holland scored again to clinch the game.
Norfolk-Norwood breezed through pool play with three wins, scoring 27 goals while letting up just two. A 3-1 semifinal win over Brewster placed them in the final match.
The Potsdam Icestorm dominated defensively in the 16U category by not allowing a single goal all weekend. They took pool play victories by scores of 8-0, 6-0, and 6-0. Then, they beat Monroe in the semis, 4-0.
This put them up against Brewster, who was the victim of that 8-0 score. This time, the game was tight early on as nobody scored in the first period.
“We got off to a slow start,” Potsdam coach Corey Towne said. “Then, we came back and kind of controlled the game.”
The Icestorm started to roll about halfway through the second period, beginning with two unassisted goals.
Kennedy Emerson picked up the puck at her own blue line, blew by the entire opposition, deked the goalie, and backhanded the puck into the net. This was followed by Keely Towne skating around the defense to sweep it past the goalie. Rylee Preston knocked in a puck in front of the net to end the second period with a 3-0 lead.
Emerson finished the scoring with her second of the night in the third period. At this point, it was just a matter of whether Potsdam would complete the tournament shutout, which they did.
“I was getting nervous, but we pulled it off as a team,” Jenna Christopher, who got most of the tournament work in net, said of the final minutes. “It feels great. It was the second year in a row our team has won.”
She had to make 28 saves, some very difficult, to preserve the shutout.
“That's a testament to our goalies and our defense,” Towne said.
The 19U girls also saw a championship shutout. Canton beat Monroe, 2-0, but it was tight throughout the game.
“They gave us a heck of scare in the semifinal earlier in the day,” Canton coach Matt Cullen said. “We had to win 3-2 in overtime.”
That game was against Brewster with the winning goal coming from Paige Glasgow at 5:43 of the extra period. This was after Canton needed to score two third-period goals just to tie the game.
Canton needed the final period again as the final saw two scoreless periods. Maya Swamp finally broke the ice at 6:40 of the third.
“We talked to the girls about going hard to the net, make sure they finished, clean up the stuff in front,” Cullen said about the winning goal. “We had a girl go in, made a shot, and the follow up, [Swamp] stuffed it home.”
Erica Sloan scored on an empty net to clinch the game. Carli Cartier made 22 saves.
“It was a whole team effort. They definitely wanted it bad,” Cullen said. “We're going to try to win it all [at Nationals].”
Western New York teams battle in Tier I
While the North Country took the Tier II titles, Western New York teams controlled Tier I, with two titles for Rochester and one for Buffalo.
Buffalo Bisons 14U shutout the Syracuse Valley Eagles 6-0, controlling the game throughout after taking a 3-0 lead in the first.
Camryn Brownschidle scored from the right side during a power play. Maeve Hourihan jammed in a rebound after the initial shot from Gillian Evans went off the goalie's chest. Lara Beecher put in a wraparound with 25 seconds left in the period.
Maddison Achtyl needed two stabs at a rebound to put it through the five-hole for a 4-0 second period lead. Beecher and Ella Huntley got third period tallies to put the game away. Ellie Simmons stopped all 21 shots.
In pool play, Buffalo defeated Valley, 5-1. The Bisons also won 5-0, 7-1 and 6-0 (against their crosstown rivals, the Buffalo Regals).
Rochester Youth Hockey took the two older categories.
The 16U team started out in a wild contest against the Buffalo Regals. The teams traded goals in the first period with Rochester taking the lead each time.
Laila Edwards scored, but Jersey Phillips tied it. Sydney Wegner scored, but Phillips tied it again on the power play. Kristen Simms banged one in off a scramble in front for the 3-2 first period lead.
Rochester opened up a 4-2 lead on a goal by Avahla Adam on the power play. Buffalo wasn't about to give up as Rebecca Holmes cut the lead back to one on a shot from the high slot through a crowd, which is how the second period ended.
However, Rochester finally took control of the game in the final period, scoring three times (Edwards twice followed by Simms) to win 7-3.
The 19U class only had three teams, so they played a round-robin only. Rochester and the Niagara Junior Purple Eagles each won their first game over the Buffalo Bisons. So, the last game was a de facto championship contest.
Rochester dominated Niagara in a 10-1 win. Kiara Zanon scored four times. Emma Conner scored twice, while single tallies were registered by Caroline Harvey, Ellie Reiter, and Mia Coene. Francesca Gerardi made 23 saves. Emma Roland got the lone Niagara goal.
2019 USA Hockey New York District Girls’ Tournament Champions
14U: Buffalo Bisons
16U: Rochester Youth Hockey
19U: Rochester Youth Hockey
14U: Norfolk-Norwood Icemen
16U: Potsdam Icestorm
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.